It's amazing to think how much life has changed in the last seven weeks. Regardless of whether you're at school, work, volunteering, furloughed, at home with young children, some of all of the above, where we spend our time is changed for everyone.
I've been finding the lines between different areas of life have blurred. You might have found the same thing. Pre-covid my days tended to be marked by being in a particular place for a particular time, and most weeks tended to have the same routine to them.
Now everything is happening at home. Unless you are a keyworker (THANK YOU if you are, NHS, local council, teacher, care worker, supermarket employee, milk man, and all the others) or maybe you are still in school, you are probably living 90% of your life at home now.
I love being at home, but usually 'home' is largely reserved for down time. Evenings, weekends, after school pick up time with the children, preparing meals, low key home jobs, Netflix, sleeping. Now I have to share all this downtime space with homeschool, paid work, preparing and delivering fitness classes, my limited online socialising, etc. (As an aside, how messy/dirty does a house get when you're in it 24/7?!)
As the lines get blurred, I'm finding my ability to concentrate on one single task is compromised, my head is full of all my to do lists, and rather than having more time I have less time. As a consequence, when I have down time I either feel guilty or a spoil it by half doing something else at the same time.
It's good for the brain to have time off. Just like you rest your body when you're tired, our brain needs a rest as well. We need unaccountable time when our mind can wander and be properly not-doing-a-job.
I've been trying different ways of tackling this myself. Planning my work time means I can enjoy my down time and not feel guilty or worried I've forgotten something. What's working for me so far is a combination of the below little tactics:
- Plan as far ahead as you can, but not too far. My husband and I tried to plan a couple of weeks in advance. It worked for the first couple of days but after that always needed altering. Now we put the big things in the diary for the week (our school and work hours) and everything else gets planned the night or day before.
- Be focused when you get the chance. I literally have had to start putting my phone in another room when I'm trying to concentrate as the tempation to faff on social media, or scroll through Spotify finding just the right music, is just too great.
- Keep a list. Some people aren't list people. I have great admiration for them as they have good memories for all their priorities. I have not been blessed with this so lists are my saviour. I have one for all areas of my life. When I finish a block of time doing a particular job I write down what needs doing next, so that next time I'm on duty I don't have to spend time working out where I got to.
- Be realistic about what you can achieve. I know that I cannot do four hours of homeschool, four hours of Phase work and four hours of fitness planning in one day, as well as a bunch of ironing and feeding hungry children. I have set my expecations a little better so that I finish the day being pleased with what I've done.
- Have one complete day off per week, or at least a good portion of a day, like a full morning or afternoon. 'Off' is clearly relative if you have children to care for, or similar responsibilities, but by and large on a Sunday I put aside my thinking work and computer, read my book, play in the garden and catch up on Netflix. Maybe I watch Britain's Got Talent, I couldn't possibly confirm or deny this.
How are you finding life largely at home? It would be great to hear your tips for how you manage your different priorities. Keep in touch with us on social media @Phase on Instagram and Facebook.